heads together brains

I Lack Empathy

I lack empathy.

I mean, I don’t think I ever had empathy for people. I don’t give one hoot if they’re here or gone. I always assumed this was because I was bitter and depressed and angry for most of my life. But now that I’m on medication, I’m noticing that this not-caring is not going away.

It’s not like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. I don’t think I have Asperger’s Syndrome or some sort of autism “thing” where just part of my brain is funny. I’m not sure I ever had it. Maybe this is why horror movies don’t affect me in the same why. I never understood why people think “The Exorcist” is the scariest movie ever. I mean, you’d think I’d be all up in that — possessed by a personality not your own. Even more now that I’m a father of a daughter. But it just seems silly to me. “Hello, Reagan, I’m Father Karras-” “-AND I AM THE DEVIL. Now kindly undo these straps.” I mean, isn’t it peculiar that the devil is constrained by leather straps. This is the guy who fought God — the immortal creator of the cosmos. It’d be like me taking on Cthulhu. If I could win against something that turns you mad by looking at it, would straps really be that big a deal? I always thought I wasn’t scared because A) I’m an atheist and B) there’s nothing scary about Regan — all she does is throw up and spin her head. She doesn’t even get up. Someone like Jigsaw is scarier because he manipulates you into doing it yourself.

Oh no. She’s in a bed. Someone save me.

I’m more scared by something like “The Shining” but not for the reasons you’re thinking of. I don’t care one whit whether or not Wendy makes it out of there. I can’t sympathize with her plight. I’m more worried people are going to see me as Jack Torrance. Especially my wife — that’s why I won’t let her watch it (not that she needs any encouragement on my part). We have way too many similarities to make me comfortable — amateur writers who seem to have trouble getting inspired, like being isolated/alone with thoughts, maybe we drink a little more than we really should, bothered by the drudgery of our jobs, thinning hair, creepy smiles, liking the cold (although he liked it a little too much).

Well, I guess there’s worse things than looking like young Jack Nicholson.

 So this lack of empathy makes things difficult sometimes when writing stories. Empathy means you feel for your characters and take them places where they have to triumph or fail. And then make the reader feel the same emotions about those triumphs or failures. Might be why I’ve been having trouble connecting to the main character in naga story, because she’s nothing like me. It’s mostly an action plot. So I guess we’ll have to see what happens when the story becomes fleshed out.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.